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[Xmca-l] Re: discussing "Posing the question"
- To: Rolf Steier <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <email@example.com>
- Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: discussing "Posing the question"
- From: mike cole <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Tue, 27 May 2014 10:40:43 -0700
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Very interesting conversation about your paper, Rolf. To me the NON
schoolness of the activity is central to its importance. That people
looked into the room and hesitated to enter speaks to its unusualness and
the fact that you were in a place where youth come in on their own is
With respect to the issue of "design experiments": There is pretty sure to
be a discussion of this issue of XMCA upcoming. In addition to the papers
in the same issue of MCA as your article each of which speaks directly to
that term and related terms of concern to xmca participants. In a month
there will be a symposium at the International Conference of Learning
Sciences (ICLS) on the topic that will involve the authors of those papers
and others, from which an issue of MCA may well spring.
Whatever one wants to call what you did, its thought provoking without
having to dig into the multiple meanings of design experiment.
Thanks for engaging in the discussion!
On Tue, May 27, 2014 at 6:22 AM, Rolf Steier
> Hi Huw,
> You raise some really interesting questions that I hope others can comment
> on as well. I would say that “making” and “discovering” as you put it are
> very much related as processes. It might be that features of the artifact
> are discovered and then in combination contribute to an interpretation
> (making) of meaning of the artifact. We could argue that a feature of the
> artifact (the pose of a figure in a painting) is discovered as being
> relevant and implying some intended meaning - but that the realization of
> this meaning is made by the participants. The notion of “testing” is also
> worth exploring more I think. For me, “testing” is related to Schön’s
> notion of “reflection in action.” The testing of a pose isn’t necessarily
> discovering a fixed meaning, but exploring the implications of taking that
> Here I have pasted the section that mentions testing on p 161 in case
> others have thoughts on this:
> As the interaction unfolds, we see Sara mimic the gesture of Mari in Panel
> > 3, seemingly in an attempt to join Mari’s interpretive process. Sara
> > doesn’t simply accept Mari’s suggestion; she performs the gesture
> > to test the gesture as a representation of “speech.” This testing may
> > as another conceptual gesture (Streeck, 2009b) to internalize this
> > particular expla- nation. In this instance, Sara’s gesture is functioning
> > simultaneously as a part of her cognitive process but also as a
> > demonstration to Mari that she acknowledges Mari’s suggestion.
> I’m also glad that you asked about this relationship between internal and
> external, because this is a theme I would love to explore further. I agree
> that participants are absolutely bringing experiences to the scene- though
> the roles of these types of experiences are more difficult to interpret
> with this kind of analysis. For me, this internal/external relationship is
> more about how one “discovered” interpretation becomes both publicly shared
> and individually evaluated through bodily action. This is definitely a
> topic I would like to explore more so I hope others can chime in.
> On Tue, May 27, 2014 at 12:55 AM, Huw Lloyd <firstname.lastname@example.org
> > Hi Rolf,
> > Thanks for sharing your paper. I am offering two related "problematic"
> > thoughts that I considered whilst reading your paper.
> > One thought I kept returning to in reading the paper was whether the
> > phrase "making meaning" was an accurate depiction and on what basis it is
> > both a meaning and something that is made.
> > By way of elaboration, we can contrast the "making" with discovering.
> > Discovering seems to be what you're referring to when you mention
> > The dialogue and sharing of impressions between visitors might be
> > construed as contributing towards this process, i.e. that there may be
> > other things to consider which may inform the "discovery" (if that is
> > it is interpreted as being).
> > With respect to the labelling of phenomena as meaning, I attribute the
> > term to the understood consequences (aesthetic feeling impressions in
> > relation to the art in this case). If this is so, then it seems to
> > that gestures are either used in an (internally) congruent manner to test
> > and explore the meaning or, alternatively, the gestures may take on an
> > exaggerated or stereotyped pose designed to have some form of understood
> > consequence, e.g. a pantomime of what one "should feel". It seems to me
> > that such a difference would implicate two rather different orientations
> > the artefacts (perhaps akin to a pre-conceputal and post-conceptual
> > appreciation of the art as art).
> > A second thought I had was the relations between your references to the
> > internal and the external. Do you perceive this to be a genetic
> > For example, in considering a need for a space to explore an artefact
> > you considering the experiences that a participant brings to the scene
> > their ability to relate their experiences to the artefacts in a silent
> > (i.e. analogous to inner speech)? The implication is that there is a
> > necessarily "noisy" prerequisite activity prior to the silent
> > appreciation, but is this actually engaging with the art, i.e.
> > the meaning, or is it a process of imposing a meaning ("what one should
> > feel"), i.e a made up meaning, to the situation?
> > An alternative account to the "noisy" mode, is that the "noisiness" is
> > business of life experience to which the artist is relating. According
> > this line of thinking, one cannot be taught what to feel in response to
> > art, rather the feeling is a consequence of engaging with the art which
> > assist in the process of reflection, i.e. of orienting to images conveyed
> > by the artist on the basis of one's experiences.
> > Presumably, these concerns are predicated on the purposes of the museum
> > organisers. Are they hoping that young people engage with the art in
> > particular ways? Do they believe that there are significant things to
> > discover, or is it all simply "what you make of it"?
> > I hope this helps!
> > Best,
> > Huw
> > On 23 May 2014 11:47, Rolf Steier <email@example.com> wrote:
> >> Hello All,
> >> Thank you to Jen for inviting me to this discussion and to everyone who
> >> wishes to participate! I'll look forward to some interesting thoughts
> >> questions.
> >> Maybe I can start by providing a little context for the research project
> >> that wasn't necessarily the focus of the article. As a whole, this
> >> experiment" involved a partnership with the National Museum to introduce
> >> digital technology and interactive activities in order to engage young
> >> people. Working with the museum, we found that teenagers' experiences
> >> the museum were almost exclusively limited to school field trips. So
> >> of all, the museum was interested in engaging this underrepresented
> >> demographic in non-school contexts. Second, the museum's use of
> >> interactive
> >> media (and really, interpretive resources in general) had been limited
> >> audio guides as well as some simple wall texts through out the museum.
> >> museum then was also interested in experimenting with news ways of
> >> communicating with the public and engaging them with these artworks.
> >> In designing this project room (which included 4 interactive stations,
> >> which this posing activity was one) - the broader goals including
> >> at how the introduction of such interactive activities might influence
> >> practices of the visiting public, but also of the museum as an
> >> institution.
> >> One small example that I found really interesting involved the role of
> >> guards, which seemed to shift from protecting the art to also
> >> some of the interactive activities in this project room.
> >> In any case, the phenomenon of posing was not necessarily intended to
> be a
> >> focal point. The activity was designed based on the pedagogical goal of
> >> the
> >> curator of exploring Munch's use of self-portraits. This one activity
> >> became really popular, and it was only after starting to look more
> >> at these prompted acts of posing did I return to looking at the visitors
> >> in
> >> the rest of the gallery. These posing practices then became visible as
> >> part
> >> of visitors normal interpretive practices. I should also note, that
> >> the exhibit closed, curators at the museum decided to adapt the posing
> >> activity to a classroom setting using photographs that students could
> >> for and then paint over with an iPad. (This can be read about in a
> >> conference paper here -
> >> ).
> >> Another outcome of the project room will be in the design of a new
> >> national museum that will incorporate spaces for such interactive
> >> activities. In regards to the iterative nature of design experiments, I
> >> think this aspect is very much present in the work.
> >> So for me, it was this broader design experiment that allowed the
> >> phenomenon of posing to emerge as a visible and relevant practice. The
> >> specific method of analysis in the article might be better described as
> >> interaction analysis then. But maybe this is a question that people have
> >> thoughts on? The relationships between design experiments and more
> >> micro-analytic methods?
> >> Looking forward to some thoughts or other directions for discussion,
> >> Rolf
> >> On Thu, May 22, 2014 at 6:09 PM, Vadeboncoeur, Jennifer <
> >> firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> >> > Dear XMCA,
> >> >
> >> > Rolf Steier is now on XMCA, and his article "Posing the question" is
> >> open
> >> > on the T and F website:
> >> >
> >> > http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/hmca20/.U3zs4Sjsq24
> >> >
> >> > Just click on the green button to the right side of the article.
> >> >
> >> > There is loads to talk about, and one question that comes to mind is
> >> > relation to the museum installation as a design experiment. In what
> >> sense
> >> > is it a design experiment? What does it make visible? How is learning
> >> > shaped by access to this experience in a museum?
> >> >
> >> > More questions?
> >> >
> >> > Best - jen
> >> >